This article will explain the tools and resources that are available for Research Students.

The University has a huge number of resources for Postgraduate Research Degree Students (PGRS). Below you will find a number of resources which may help you throughout your studies.


Skills Forge

Skills Forge is an interactive web-based system for booking your place on Graduate School Workshops, managing your Professional Research and Excellence Skills (PRaXiS) development and maintaining a record of your progress with your doctoral degree. You can find Skills Forge online. View the step by step Skills Forge guide: Skills Forge guide for students.



As Postgraduate Research students and Professional Doctorate students do not follow the terms and semesters which apply to the rest of the University it is important to note that the library operates reduced opening hours outside of term-time. Find out more about the University Library. There are also a number of subject specific GSDP workshop to help provide advice on effective literature searching run by faculty librarians, these can be found and booked on to via Skills Forge.



Funding your way through a PhD can be daunting, there are however tools to help you secure additional funding including The Alternative Guide to Funding which can be accessed using your University email address and registering as a new user in the green box (option 1).


Useful books

In addition to finding resources and literature for your studies, the University Library also has a range of books to provide advice on completing your postgraduate research studies. From applying for funding through to sitting your viva these books provide useful information and guidance on the whole postgraduate research degree process. Here are some examples.


  • Phillips, E., Pugh, D. S. (2015). How to get a PhD: a handbook for students and their supervisors (6th Ed.). Open University Press. (Book and eBook available via University library)
  • Rugg, G., Petre, M. (2010). The unwritten rules of PhD research. Open University Press. (eBook available via University library)
  • Gill, J. Medd, W. (2013). Your PhD coach: how to get the PhD experience you want. Open University Press. (Book available via University library)

Doing a Professional Doctorate

  • Smith, N-J. (2009). Achieving your Professional Doctorate. Open University Press. (Book and eBook available via University library)
  • Fulton, J., Kuit, J., Sanders, G., & Smith, P. (2013). The professional doctorate : A practical guide. Palgrave Macmillan. (Book and eBook available via University library)

Managing a research project

  • Bell, J. (2010).Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science (5th ed.). Open University Press (Book and eBook available via University library)

Writing a thesis

  • Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis. Open University Press. (Book and eBook available via University library)
  • Ridley, D. (2012). The Literature Review (2nd ed.). Sage Publications Ltd. (eBook available via University library)
  • Wallace, M., & Wray, A. (2014). Critical reading and writing for Postgraduates (3rd ed.). Sage Publications Ltd. (Book and online access available via University library)

The Viva

  • Smith, P. (2014). The PhD viva: how to prepare for your oral examination. Palgrave Macmillan. (Book available via University library)
  • Murray, R. (2015). How to survive your viva: defending a thesis in an oral examination (3rd ed.). Open University Press. (Book available via University library)


Careers service

The Careers and Employability Service is dedicated to helping you to work out what you need to do to attain a satisfying and enjoyable career. You can visit the Careers and Employability Centre at any time where you will find lots of information about different careers, study options and where to find opportunities. If you need further advice and guidance you can arrange to meet a Careers Adviser who can help you plan your next steps. You can register with the Careers and Employability Service working proactively with employers on behalf of students to find full-time, part-time and voluntary positions both in the local area and throughout the UK. Visit our careers service.


Academic Skills and Maths Café

All students at the university are also able to access a variety of academic support services such as the Academic Skills Unit and Maths Café.